Wolf and Darwin Islands are non-inhabited outlying islands in the Galapagos archipelago. The islands are small, and are extinct volcano tops. Darwin Island is the smaller of the two, and is just 0.46 square miles, or 1.2 square kilometers in size. Wolf Island is a bit bigger, measuring 0.5 square miles or 1.3 square kilometers in size. However, the tiny islands themselves are not the primary reason for a visit to this area – rather, the main purpose of a trip here is to dive. There are a variety of diving options, and a massive array of marine life to feast your eyes on, once you get into the depths of the ocean. It is for this reason that Wolf and Darwin are considered the best islands for diving in Galapagos. These Galapagos diving islands attract numerous divers every year, due to the remarkable underwater scenes that can be experienced here. Here we will explain the highlights of Wolf Island and Darwin Island, the best time to go, how to get there, the activities there and the wildlife you will have a chance of seeing, as well as our Insider recommendations for your trip to these fantastic Galapagos diving islands.
Wolf and Darwin Islands are very highly rated among divers, and this site is considered among the best worldwide. One of the best dive sites here is known as El Derrumbe, and it is famous for its tremendous array of diverse marine life. There is considered to be a massive abundance of sharks and other marine predators here, and in fact, studies have shown that this area has the largest shark biomass worldwide.
The best time to visit Wolf and Darwin Islands will depend on what type of weather you like, and how strong you prefer your currents to be.
The marine life is more plentiful between the months of June to November, as during this time, the Humboldt current sweeps up, bringing with it an array of nutrients which attracts diversity of life in the water. However, the currents can be a fair bit stronger during these months too, and particularly in August and September. The water is also cooler during these months. The remaining months (December to May) are warmer, though you may expect some rain. There is still plenty to see, but the diversity of marine life will be slightly less during these months. That is unlikely to detract from the experience overly, however.
The months of June through September and December/January may be considered high season. Since not all Galapagos Islands cruises offer diving, and that means there are limited spaces, in these months you will want to book well in advance.
Wolf and Darwin Islands are only accessible to visitors travelling on a liveaboard scuba diving boat. As mentioned above, not all Galapagos Islands cruises offer diving – in fact, very few do, and they are liveaboard boats with diving itineraries. This means that if you want to visit Wolf and Darwin Islands you will need to do so on a liveaboard boat as it will not be possible for regular visitors on a standard Galapagos cruise, or for visitors that have opted for a Galapagos land based option. A great cruise offering visits to these two islands is the popular and comfortable Calipso Galapagos Yacht covering its comprehensive itineraries.
The marine life at Wolf and Darwin Islands is quite simply, spectacular. The cold currents that wash in bring a variety of different sharks, as well as whales and other interesting creatures. Shark types that can be seen here include Galapagos sharks, white tipped sharks, the great spotted whale shark, and even hammerhead sharks. In the water you may also see various types of rays, and in particular, manta rays. Sea turtles can also be spotted here. These highlights aside, you can also expect to see a wide variety of colorful fish.
The islands also have some interesting bird life to be seen. There are finches, and in particular, the vampire finch – so named, because it drinks the blood of both Nazca and red footed boobies, as well as other birds here. You will also likely see a variety of other sea birds too.
It is worth noting that there are conservation issues in this area, since it is so far from the central islands region of the Galapagos, and therefore difficult to enforce regulations there. This means that the site is at risk from unregulated activities such as fishing, or diving in unregulated boats. To control this, the Galapagos National Park has put in place a floating base at Wolf, so these waters can be better controlled.
As can be seen from examining this guide to Wolf and Darwin Islands, the only activity that can be carried out here is diving, and the site itself is not easy. There can be quite strong currents, so individuals coming to dive here need to be confident in their diving skills. Another activity that you might very well enjoy here is taking photographs of the interesting rock formation, Darwin’s Arch.
There is not much else to do in this remote, but fascinating area. Once you’re done with your dives and photography, you might simply kick back and enjoy a cold drink on the deck, reflecting on your extraordinary underwater experiences of the day.
Our Insider recommendation for a visit to Darwin and Wolf Islands is that you are well qualified, since the currents can be strong here. We suggest that you are at a minimum, advanced qualified in diving. Remember, you can only visit this Galapagos visitor site on a diving liveaboard trip.
Why not contact us and we can help you sort out your Galapagos diving trip. We are experts in Galapagos bookings and can help you find your ideal Galapagos Islands trip on a liveaboard that includes a stop at Wolf and Darwin Islands – contact us today to find out how we can help.